So You Want To Purchase A Home/Mobile Stereo/Theater? *NEW EDU*

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Ronin, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    My last EDU was heavily product based which will cause an EDU to run out of steam rather quickly.

    I also had plans to build a web site for a massive education layout on stereos, but I have a different direction I now want to take with that.

    Due to the ever changing lines of equipment and technology this EDU will be very loosely based on equipment (which can be recommended rather quickly) and more based on principals and how to get the most out of your money so you can be happy with whatever path you decide to take.The following can be applied to both home and car stereo and I will be using outside resources to keep this EDU to the point and organized.

    I encourage all members to contribute and ratify as they see fit.


    Step 1: Goal Setting

    You can have a general idea of what you'd like even if you know very little about stereo equipment. You may have been in a friends car or home and he had a killer set up. You want to get into the stereo world, maybe something hardcore? Maybe something mild? Either way people generally have a basic outline in their mind that they want something.

    Let's say you were at a friends house and watched a movie. The sound enveloped you. The bass chords struck with impact and the sound came forth effortlessly as if they weren't being projected by speakers but rather the sound was just..there. The movie seemed to come alive and it made you much more engaged and interested in the movie. And when any heavy explosion or line of bass issued forth it sunk deep and battered at you with violence. You want that sound in your room at your house.

    So we can break what you want into some bullet points:
    • You want strong impact so you will want a good mid bass and low-bass section.
    • You want sound all around you so you will want a multi channel system.
    • You want the sound track to sound like the movie is being presented to you like it should, it should not sound strained through a weak system.
    You have 3 basic bullet points for what you want out of your system. Bass, surround sound, clarity.

    But how can one achieve this? What factors come into play?

    Once you have decided you want a home theater/stereo/anything and you want to do it right this is the time you want to become as educated as possible.

    Step 2: Education

    Now if I REALLY wanted to I could sit here for about 5-8 hours and type a bunch of shit into this post.

    No thanks.

    I am going to list some resources that I have found useful and that I think you may as well. Even if you think it doesn't apply to you right now just read it anyway, the more you know the better off you will be.

    Home theater:
    www.audioholics.com
    All kinds of good information here. Be sure to read the AV University section, the What To Buy section and the Tips & Tricks section.

    www.avsforum.com
    This THE home a/v forum site. It is hardcore.

    www.rivesaudio.com/resources/links/frame.html
    Good resource for acoustical related information.

    Glossary/definitions:

    http://www.audioholics.com/education/frequently-asked-questions/glossary-of-electronics-terms
    Glossary on Audioholics, use it as your AV dictionary.

    www.google.com
    Type Define: "word" into google and it will bring up definitions.

    www.wikipedia.com
    Sure its editable but most of the time it has good information for technical related BS.

    Car Audio:
    www.bcae1.com
    Car Audio related stuff, tons of technical explanation.

    www.caraudio.com/forum
    This is the most active car audio forum i've seen. Sound Domain is pretty close but sound domain is kind of meh.

    www.12volt.com
    Car audio news and commentary.

    Both:
    www.howstuffworks.com
    If you really want to find out in layman's terms how amplifiers and speakers, etc work then go there and look it up.

    www.diyaudio.com
    Like to do things in your own way? Look here for all you could imagine on building everything by hand.

    That should be enough to get you started. Another good way to stay up on things is to subscribe to some magazines. Home Theater Mag is pretty good for home theater. I've never subscribed to a car audio magazine so maybe another forum member here can recommend a good one.

    *Fast forward through heavy reading*

    Ok now you have a good idea about what is going on, hopefully. You've read some articles explaining loudspeakers, acoustics, etc etc and you understand how things interact with each other and you've probably read a bunch of other shit 2 (if you haven't just do it, it will benefit you).

    Now we are onto the best part, the buying process.

    Step 3: Buying Your Shit

    One of the most important reasons to be a smart consumer is so salesmen don't hustle the shit out of you. So wherever you decide to go make sure you are studied up ahead of time.

    Now I would never recommend doing any serious shopping in a place like Best Buy or Circuit City or any place like that. If you are shopping for products they may happen to offer then sure, you can go and comparison shop they if you feel you must but I never condone buying anything from these places. The sales staff are absolutely retarded, their installation work is a joke and their prices aren't what I would call "competitive".

    I recommend either buying online (through reputable and authorized dealers). Or shopping at a brick and mortar store, which if you don't know is basically a legit privately owned shop.

    Now generally speaking this is the buying method I recommend:

    If it's a home THEATER get your display in order. There are a lot of good brands out there and you will need to weight the pros and cons of each.

    LCD, DLP, Plasma, all have pros and cons. Assuming you did what I told you and educated up you know what they are, or know how to look them up quickly.

    Another good rule: http://www.hdforindies.com/uploaded_images/resolution_chart-790251.jpg (linking hi-res).

    1080P may be completely useless to you.

    Also never match a 10,000 dollar display to a 2,000 sound system. It just doesn't make sense. Balance everything out.

    Say you get a nice big plasma screen, amazing picture quality, captivating. The same should be said about your sound system.

    So you know what your display will be/is/already have one/etc.

    Now find a receiver. It should be flexible, it should be able to handle every piece of equipment you want to hook up to it. Look at the surround mixing it can handle, power output, etc.

    Try finding reviews on receivers you are interested in and see what their power output is on the test bench.

    Most receivers these days handle 7.1 surround sound. There are also 2-channel stereo receivers out there.

    Make sure the menus are easy for you to navigate and are easy to read at a distance.

    And try finding one that won't break your bank.

    If I spent 3,000 dollars on a TV I would probably spend 800-1500 on a receiver. Nice receivers will last as long as a tv if not longer.

    Now it's time to match loudspeakers to your receiver.

    You REALLY need to listen to speakers in person to find something you like. Different people like the sound of different speakers.

    If you have a large room I would recommend getting floor standers to fill the space with sound. However a good set of bookshelf's can do just fine depending on your preferences and listening levels.

    Be sure to factor in aesthetics if that is a factor for you of course. Also if your wife is really picky about the look of your living room then maybe you should bring her along as well. :mamoru:

    When getting speakers and you don't have a large quantity of funds at the ready I recommend buying your front 2 channels first before anything else.

    You will get better overall sound in the long run. A good 2 channel set up will handle music perfectly and will give you a wide enough sound stage to please you on movies although the sound may not be 360* yet.

    Also when using large floor standing speakers that have a large power recommendation I suggest the use of external amplifiers to meet demand.

    Screen: Check
    Receiver: Check
    Primary Speakers: Check

    Next I would get a Sub woofer. There are so many sub woofers out there it boggles the mind. The good thing about a sub is you don't have to brand mate to timber match your speakers.

    If you like to DIY I would recommend DIYing a sub woofer. If not thats fine too. You will want a subwoofer that can keep up with SPL levels of your main speakers and sound clear doing it. Audition them when possible and throw a lot of different kinds of bass at them. Be sure to look into the internet direct brands as well. You will want to find a good CD mix that would be dedicated to bass tracks. Get classical organ music on there along with every other genre and no less than two songs you are personally familiar with. I would burn about 10-15 tracks as so:

    1) Rap
    2) Rap
    3) Techno
    4) Techno
    5) Acoustical Rock
    6) Hard Rock
    7) Acoustical Drums, something with heavy drums or a pure test track with a lot of drum action
    8) Classical Organ
    9) Blues
    10) Dedicated bass mix eg Bass Mekanik/Bass Test Track
    11) Personal Choice
    12) Personal Choice
    13) Personal Choice



    Sub: Check

    Now you will want to get a Center channel and rears. The center channel is basically the anchor of the horizontal sound stage and handles a lot of dialog. If your mains are big you need a big center to hold things together properly.

    Depending on whether or not you will have a lot of people in the room will change the choice between direct radiating rears and dipole/bipoles.

    Rears: Check

    Now depending on how bad your room is you may want to do this before you even buy speakers. You want to make sure you have proper acoustics in your room. I would not recommend buying acoustical panels they are relatively simple to make. You want to consider an acoustics consultant depending on preference, know-how, and budget.

    Acoustics: Check

    Assuming you aren't a blundering idiot you should be able to piece together your display and sound system without too much difficulty.

    Oh yeah and cables, don't spend a lot on these get internet direct or have someone like Veonake make them for you. Don't get suckered into buying overpriced cables.



    Car Audio:

    The same principals can be applied to car audio except it's a little bit different.

    A lot of the time car audio is simply for music so stick to a 2 channel set up with subs for bass. No need for rears but if you REALLY want them I'm not stopping you.

    Make sure to use acoustical treatments as most vehicles turn into rattle buckets under the duress of bass.

    If you feel the need to put a $5,000 system in your Tempo try to resist it.



    I'm going to take a break for now, this is pretty good for now and it's more to the point than the old one, I will make edits later today including a section on "Products to Consider" which I will try to update monthly/bimonthly. So I expect this EDU post to grow quite a bit with edits, hopefully I will get some good feedback.

    Home Theater Products To Consider:

    Displays:
    Pioneer Elite Plasma Screens

    Receivers:
    Yamaha x800 Series

    Speaker Systems:
    Paradigm (any series)

    Subwoofers:
    HSU Research (any model)
    Epik Subwoofers (On my to buy next list)

    Separates:
    Outlaw Audio

    Misc:
    Blue Jeans Cable

    Car Audio Products To Consider:

    Decks:
    Alpine
    Eclipse
    Panasonic
    Pioneer
    Clarion
    Kenwood Excelon

    Speakers:
    Morel
    CDT
    Focal
    Seas Lotus

    Subwoofers:
    Fi Car Audio SSD and Q
    Image Dynamics

    Amps:


    Misc.

    Ronin's List of Things to Avoid:

    1. Audiobahn
    2. Dual
    3. Speakers bought from vans
    4. Not securing/sound deadening your license plates
    5. Audioquest/Monster cables
    6. Neon lights
    7. Shopping at Best Buy, Circuit City or Magnolia
    8. Putting 18s in your 1200 dollar civic
    9. Bose
    10. Buying your equipment without proper research beforehand
    11. Not asking for advice or help
    12. www.buy.com
    13. www.wisetronics.com
    14. Walmart car audio

    Reputable Online Retailers:
    Reputable Sources of Reviews:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2008
  2. JRock10

    JRock10 Active Member

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    :rofl: i was bad off for a job once and almost took a job selling these!
     
  3. JRock10

    JRock10 Active Member

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    oh and great job on this new edu!
     
  4. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    thx, feel free to add if you wish
     
  5. JRock10

    JRock10 Active Member

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    will do, i'll re-read and see if there is anything i could possibly add. you write the most comprehensive EDUs i think i've ever seen!
     
  6. lemans23

    lemans23 PV - The Vision of Sound

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    That list of websites needs to have diyaudio.com. It's empty with out it.
     
  7. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    thanks completely forgot about that site, it pwns
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2007
  8. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    once I feel this EDU can't hold any more info im going to copy it to the main forums
     
  9. lemans23

    lemans23 PV - The Vision of Sound

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    The people there are just too smart :bowdown:

    And I don't fit into that category :hs:
     
  10. joetama

    joetama New Member

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    PV, I mean lemans23, does B&W_EE ring a bell to you? ;)
     
  11. lemans23

    lemans23 PV - The Vision of Sound

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    Yeah, he's some fuckin cock who goes to some shitty school in Ohio. You know him? :bigthumb:
     
  12. joetama

    joetama New Member

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    Why yes I do... :rofl:
     
  13. joetama

    joetama New Member

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    Nice AVI BTW....
     
  14. lemans23

    lemans23 PV - The Vision of Sound

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    :naughty: Thanks.
     
  15. Zz_3.14_zZ

    Zz_3.14_zZ New Member

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    Also. Look out for Walmart's car audio. It might say Pioneer or Sony, but it wasn't built by them. Those companies send out parts to the lowest bidder, they build it, then sell them at Future Shop.
     
  16. JRock10

    JRock10 Active Member

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  17. SuperGriff34

    SuperGriff34 OT Supporter

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    great edu.... been reading up on a lot of shit for my new place, getting big screen and surround, lots of help in here. thanks!!
     
  18. almond

    almond New Member

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    just on a side note, some good items can come from big box store, lol but you'll pay to much. best buy for example sells alpine which makes awsome decks and circuit city sells eclipse which makes awsome decks as well as some kick ass subs (well tc built, but eclipse still sells them :))
    also when making a purchase from say woofersetc (i can make a good example with them) they are authorized dealers for re audio and us amps (possibly more, but i don't know) but they are not authorized for say mmats equipment and mmats will not honor any manufacturer warrenty.


    other companies i like are
    mmats (subs and amps)
    tc sounds (subs)
    soundsplinter (branch of tc sounds)
    digital designs (subs and insane amps)
    audique (branch of dd)
    niche audio (namely the na6000d amp and the na1200d amp)
    pioneer decks
    mach5 audio (affordable subs and midbass)
    empeg riocar (decks)
    knukonceptz (wiring and instalation)
    audiocontrol (sound processing)
     
  19. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    ^^^yes woofersetc.com isnt authorized for a lot of things, its the trade off for lower initial cost, if you have a lot of money and you are unexperienced id just get everything with a warranty
     
  20. CrazyInteg

    CrazyInteg Honda-Acura.net OG

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    If you're on a very tight budget I recommend purchasing the audio parts in phases (it worked for me). Obviously it's better to buy it all at once, but some people can't afford to buy 5-8 speakers at one time (plus all that wire).

    First do all your research, and pick out the speakers you want, how many you want, where you're going to place/install them and do a little bit of price searching.

    Phase 1 : Definitely you have to start with the two front speakers.
    Phase 2 : Center channel speaker. It will definitely make your movie watching experience better. You'll need to configure your receiver for 3 channel/Pro Logic/whatever.
    Phase 3 : Subwoofer.
    Phase 4 : Rear/Side speakers. You'll need to configure your receiver for 5.1
    Phase 5 : Optional rear center channel. You'll need to configure your receiver for that surround mode (I dont know what it is, I never got around to installing it)
     
  21. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    did you even read the EDU?

    excerpt:

    When getting speakers and you don't have a large quantity of funds at the ready I recommend buying your front 2 channels first before anything else.

    any text following that describes the buying process in phases. :hsugh:
     
  22. tjamz

    tjamz New Member

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    Hope you don't mind, I agreed with much of what you said, added comments where I didn't. Not everyone will see things the way I do on this however.
     
  23. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    ive had luck with my woofersetc buys, dont really care if what i buy is stolen :mamoru:

    however for the greater good I will remove them

    thanks for the input i need as much info as I can possibly get
     
  24. tjamz

    tjamz New Member

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    No need to remove them. I will agree that they deliver on the product they sell. I just think they need a footnote is all.
     
  25. CrazyInteg

    CrazyInteg Honda-Acura.net OG

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    Yeah but if you're really on a budget, my phases work better for spreading out your cash.

    Yours was 3 phases.
    1) fronts
    2) subwoofer
    3) center and rears

    But it can be spread out even more by doing:
    1)fronts
    2)center
    3)optional subwoofer
    4)rears
    5)optional rear center

    Also I mentioned about re-configuring your receiver for each setup. I didn't mean to make your EDU seem incomplete, I was just adding some very useful information. And like you said:
     

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